The last print issue of the Village Voice, with a startlingly gorgeous ultra-tight crop of Fred McDarrah’s iconic image of Bob Dylan on the cover, rolled off the presses today. The first issue was published, with newsprint and ink, the only options, on October 26, 1955.
The issue is hefty, the way the Voice used to be, including an article looking back and forward (and promising a much-needed digitized archive) by editor in chief Stephen Mooalem; an interview with the paper’s first film critic, filmmakers/poet/artist Jonas Mekas, now 94; R.C. Baker, artist and the Voice’s long time chief art critic and production manager, remembers overseeing the printing of approximately 900 weekly issues; a portfolio of work of Voice photographers (I’m thrilled to be included, with friends and colleagues Fred McDarrah–of whom I often said, “If Fred hadn’t hired me, I’d probably have a real job by now–Sylvia Plachy, James Hamilton, Amy Arbus and Cathy McGann), and “Graphic Content,” new work by Voice illustrators and cartoonists. And then there’s the nearly 50-page family album, black and white portraits of so many of those who made the Voice, shot at the recent reunion party.
I worked for the Village Voice regularly from 1981 until around 2003–I loved it–shooting portraits of filmmakers and artists, art exhibitions and sometimes restaurants. I shot my last cover (Spike Lee) in 2013.
And I feel sentimental about seeing my images in today’s paper (Taylor Mead, 9/11 rescue workers and Ed Koch and Al Sharpton), reproduced really crappy one last time, as newsprint and ink is superseded by pixels. The Village Voice will continue to live online, of course, and I hope, thrive.